Vegetarian Meals

Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna

black skillet with eggplant lasagna on white table, spinach and sweet potato pictures next to skillet

 

Public service announcement: NO NEED TO BE A VEGETARIAN to totally fall in love with this eggplant lasagna!  If my meat-lover husband can devour this lasagna in one sitting and not notice the meat is missing, then that tells me we’re in good shape for the blog!

My idea behind this dish is that I wanted to make it simple and healthy.  So let’s start with simple…

I used raw ingredients, that only required slicing, and baked them all together in a skillet (or casserole dish).  There is no need to pre-cook anything or get out a million pots and pans (which means less dishes…yay!).

For this recipe, I would highly encourage the use of a mandoline to slice your “layers”.  It is one of my favorite kitchen appliances, and can cut you a whole veggie in about 30 seconds flat!  (click the link below for more information on mandolines!)

 

 

cutting board with sliced eggplant, sweet potato, and chopped onion

 

I used a mandoline to thinly slice a sweet potato, and then a sharp knife to cut the eggplant approximately 1/4 in. thick width wise.  Chop an onion, grab some spinach, mix spices, and layer as follows:

  • sweet potato
  • eggplant
  • spices
  • onion
  • spinach
  • sauce
  • cheese

(repeat one more time) 

 

black skillet on white table, with eggplant lasagna
Lasagna before baking

 

Second, I didn’t want to use meat, or pasta, because I love eggplant and strongly believe it should get its time to shine every now and again!  Therefore, I substituted pasta with sweet potatoes, and meat with our star of the show…eggplant!  

The sweet potato acts as a low carb substitute for pasta and gives the lasagna structure, while the eggplant provides high fiber content and is rich with nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).  Instead of using traditional mozzarella, a cheese derived from cow’s milk that causes inflammation, I used goat cheese crumbles which contains less lactose and is typically easier to digest.

 

eggplant lasagna in a black skillet surrounded by green spinach

 

Once all of your layers are assembled, cover in foil, bake for 50 min, then remove foil and bake for another 25 min.  You can serve as a single dish, or with a side salad!    

 

eggplant lasagna in a skillet on white table with spinach in background

 

 

eggplant lasagna in a black skillet surrounded by green spinach
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan

A one-pan, healthy, vegetarian, eggplant parmesan made with sweet potato, spinach, onion, and spices!  Creamy goat cheese used in place of traditional mozzarella, on top of a basil marinara sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: eggplant, gluten free, parmesan, sweet potato, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large eggplant skinned
  • 1 large sweet potato skinned
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 36 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a large skillet or baking dish.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix all spices and set aside.
  • Using a mandoline, slice sweet potato into round, thin pieces and set aside. Using a knife, cut the width of the eggplant to approximately 1/4 in. thick, set aside. Chop onion and set aside.
  • Take greased baking dish, and line the bottom with half the amount of sweet potato slices. Then layer half of the eggplant pieces directly on top.
  • Take spice mixture, and evenly sprinkle half the amount over eggplant.
  • Take half of chopped onion, and 1 cup of spinach and sprinkle over eggplant. Spread half of marinara sauce overtop and spread using a spatula.
  • Evenly sprinkle half of goat cheese over top marinara.  Repeat the same process again, starting with a layer of sweet potatoes.
  • Wrap tinfoil over top and bake for 50 min.  remove tinfoil and bake for another 25 min.  Let cool, garnish with extra herbs (if desired), and serve!
Holiday

Valentine’s Day Dinner Part 3: Ribeye Steak Marinade

bone in ribeye with seasoning on a skillet

Rounding out the Valentine’s Day dinner menu is this perfectly juicy, ribeye steak, and tips for a life-changing marinade!  This steak is so darn good that you could be totally satisfied eating it by itself, but we operate under the “no main dish left behind” act in this household…hence the sides of macaroni and cheese and seasoned asparagus.  The combination pairs so well, that I often eat all three items at one time (be adventurous, try it!)

two cooked bone in ribeyes on a skillet

I’ve found that there are two components to creating the perfect steak.  Where your meat is sourced from, and the marinade used.  You can cook a steak on the grill, stovetop, or even in the oven and yield a good end result, but the taste is going to depend on those first two components.  So let me give you the run down!

Two tips for the perfect steak:

Source

two bone in ribeyes, uncooked, on brown paper

If you have access to a quality local butcher, USE THEM.  Pay the little extra to get meat that is locally sourced, free of antibiotics and hormones, and isn’t produced for the sole purpose of feeding the masses.  Here in Columbus, The Butcher and Grocer in Grandview, has become the only place I use as my source of steak.

The Butcher and Grocer only source from Ohio, family-owned farms, and pride themselves on doing whole-animal butchery.  Meaning, they never receive frozen, refrigerated, or pre-packaged meat.  The animals are raised on pasture, fed a diet that nature intended, and when the time is right, they are humanely slaughtered and sent to the butcher whole.

I cannot stress enough how much of a difference this makes in the end result of your steak.  If you have access to a local butcher I would highly recommend giving them a try.  If you don’t, try to get pasture-raised, organic, grass-fed beef.  And if you live near Columbus, you need to check out The Butcher and Grocer!  

two ribeyes with dog staring at them in the background

As if there’s not enough upside to buying meat from your butcher, you get to support local farmers too!

Marinade

steak seasoning, oil, garlic paste with ribeyes in background

Now this is where the magic happens!  I have been using the same marinade for years, and I can’t stop because I don’t even want to try anything else!  There are 3 simple ingredients you need for this marinade…oil, garlic paste, and Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning.

two ribeyes with oil and garlic marinade on brown paper

Start by pouring oil in a small bowl, and mixing in garlic paste.  I use a brush to coat both sides of the steak in oil/garlic mixture, and then liberally sprinkle with steak seasoning before wrapping tight and letting sit.  Depending on how pro-active I am, I either let it sit over night in the fridge, or if being made the same day, as long as I can before cooking.

two ribeyes marinating in oil, garlic, and steak seasoning

Trust me, this marinade will change your life!

Now how do we cook this beautiful masterpiece?  And yes, it can be done of stove top!  After your steak has marinated, take it out of the fridge and set out on the countertop while you prep your pan.  Use either a large frying pan, or large skillet, and place on med-high heat.  Add a couple tablespoons of butter and let melt.

two seasoned ribeyes cooking on a skillet

Once butter has melted, you will start searing your steak.  Depending on how well done you like your steak, this can take anywhere from 7-15 min.  I like my steak medium rare-medium, so I sear mine for about 10 min.

two ribeyes being seared on skillet

To sear your steak, you will let it cook on high heat for a about one minute per side.  After one minute has passed, flip to the other side and repeat until you’ve reached your desired temperature.  Use tongs to flip your steak, and a spoon to pour melted butter and fat drippings over top while they cook.

Once done cooking, you can transfer to a plate whole, or slice it up and serve right there in the hot skillet!  And when you’re finished, all fatty pieces and bones can be donated to your fur baby 🙂

two seasoned ribeyes cooked on skillet

 

Ribeye Steak Marinade

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dinner, marinade, ribeye, steak
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 ribeyes bone-in, or no bone
  • 4 tbsp grass-fed butter

Steak Marinade

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning enough to cover both surfaces of ribeye

Instructions

  • Prepare steak marinade by mixing together oil and garlic paste in a small bowl.  Brush over both sides of each ribeye.
  • Cover both sides of ribeyes with Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Wrap tightly and let marinate in fridge for a couple hours or overnight.
  • Begin cooking right before serving.  Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat on stovetop.  Add butter and let melt.
  • Once butter has melted, add ribeyes and sear 1 minute on one side, and then flip and sear 1 minute on the opposite side.  Repeat process until desired temperature is met.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 minutes depending on desired temp.  As a reference point, for a medium steak cook for 10 min.
  • During periods of searing, take a spoon and scoop melted butter and fat drippings over top of ribeyes.
  • Serve after cooking.
Holiday

Valentine’s Day Dinner Part 2: THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

creamy macaroni and cheese in skillet with buttery panko topping

 

Up next on the Valentine’s Day dinner menu is THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese!  This is one of those classic dishes that will never get old and keeps the heart, soul, and taste buds happy 🙂  It pairs nicely with any greens (whether it be a salad or veggies), and is actually a simple recipe to make!  In this case, it pairs nicely with Seasoned Asparagus !

 

skillet with macaroni and cheese with skillet of seasoned asparagus

 

If you want to make a creamy mac and cheese for your v-day dinner (or for any occasion), there are three simple steps you should follow every single time!  Shall we get started?!

How to make the best creamy macaroni and cheese:


  1. Start with a roux: “roo” is French in origin, meaning “browned butter”.  It sounds scary and complicated, but it’s actually a simple cooking method used to thicken sauces!  It’s created by adding equal parts flour and fat (for this recipe, I use 2 tbsp grass-fed butter and 2 tbsp almond flour) to a heated pan and whisking the ingredients together.  In order to blend the flour and butter, you must melt your butter in the heated pan first, then whisk in flour. 

    Once the roux is made, your next step is to take cream and slowly add it to your roux.  The best way to do this is in stages, approximately 1/3 cup at a time, while constantly whisking. You will notice the cream start to thicken as you stir, all thanks to that roux!  This will act as your base for the cheese sauce to make sure it doesn’t become runny or thinned out over the noodles!

  2. Stir cheese in slowly: in order to prevent cheese from burning, the best thing you can do is add cheese to your roux in stages and whisk constantly.  This not only helps prevent burning, but melts the cheese faster due to constant distribution of heat.  In order to add cheese in stages, I cut my cheese into slices (as pictured below) and add a couple pieces of each kind at a time.cheese on cutting board cut into thin slices
  3. Add extra flavor: get creative and give your mac some personality!  Even the “plain” recipe needs a little something, something…and for that I use Nutmeg!  A little bit of fresh ground Nutmeg makes a world of difference and you’ll never go back to regular mac and cheese again.  Or if you want to take a walk on the wild side, stir some bacon and chives into your sauce before adding noodles!  Or lobster, or BBQ pulled pork, or hot sauce…omg the options are endless! 

Whatever flavor floats your boat, just make sure to stir it into your sauce before adding in noodles!

Once your cheese sauce is made, noodles stirred in, all that’s left is to add a panko topping and bake for 30 min.  For panko topping I melt 2 tbsp butter, then stir in 1/2 cup panko so that it soaks up all the butter.  Top your mac with the panko/butter mixture to give the dish some texture.

 

creamy macaroni and cheese in skillet topped with panko crust

 

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.

Have you made this recipe?!

If so, comment below or hashtag #lulustable on Instagram to show me your homemade creation!  I’d love to see what you’re doing in the kitchen!  

Follow @lulus.table on Instagram for more recipes as they get posted.